What is My Home Worth?

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Much of the content on Real Estate websites (including this one) is aimed at buyers.  This page is for those thinking about selling.

Conventional wisdom is that the 3 most important factors in Real Estate are location, location location.  Allow me to suggest this might be an oversimplification and offer the following refinement.



This means the numbers.  How many square feet under heat/air, total square feet, size of the lot, numbers of bedrooms, bathrooms, garage spaces, year built and so on.  Generally the bigger the number the better.  All these numbers can be plugged into a formula which combined with comparisons with other homes in the neighborhood produce a value for the property.  There are many sources online (Zillow, Trulia, HomeValues etc) which will give you a number, often to the nearest dollar for the likely selling price.

There's a clue here, in that if you visit several different sites, you will get a a whole range of numbers which may or may not (probably not) get you the answer you need.  I do find that these sites (I like Zillow) give you a pretty good idea of the current and recent trends, although their future predictions are often way off.



Here I agree with the old saw.  Location is indeed very important to value.  Location tends to be very subjective and is complex.  It's also something you can't fix, and it's very much a double edged sword.  It's also made more complex, because certain factors, like for instance a busy road, or proximity to water, are regarded as positives or negatives for different people.

It starts with proximity and access to the things important to the buyer, which are generally jobs (current and potential), shopping restaurants and entertainment, friends and family.  Certain places like New York City, San Francisco, Tokyo for instance are outrageously expensive, because huge numbers of people want to live there, while others (you know who you are) have the opposite issue.

However in the context of an individual town or zip code there are other more subtle factors in play.  Many buyers will "drive the neighborhood" before making a decision to buy.  In particular they may be looking to see what they (and their friends) have to drive past to get to the home.  

Next there is the question of what can be seen from inside the house and from within the yard.  A beautiful water view with mountains in the background quickly goes negative when it's discovered the mountain is actually a landfill.  For some a golf course view is a big plus, while others will be concerned about the dangers of sliced shots interrupting the Sunday barbecue.  

FYI not many people I know want to live next to a 10 lane Interstate Highway, but I'm not sure Zillow has figured that one out yet.



The third factor is the condition of the property.  I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard "it needs too much work".  

It's pretty well established that buyers often make a decision NOT to buy a house within the first minute of walking through the door.  Usually this is because the layout is weird, or because it smells bad.  After that it often comes down to the condition of the property and the perceived level of work required (and therefore cost) required to put the property in a condition acceptable to the buyer.

There are some problems, like holes in the roof big cracks in the walls, that are obvious red flags.  However there are many issues that are very fixable with a little care and forethought.  There isn't enough space here to cover this whole subject.  However simple things like broken switch plates, doors and windows that don't close properly and lights that don't work are examples of things that create the wrong impression.  And of course there's nothing like dirt and clutter to send the wrong message.


Now let's consider price and promotion

Classic marketing talks about the 3 P's, which are Product, Price and Promotion.  Specs, location and condition define the product.  Now we should consider the other two.

In my book the most critical factor in marketing a property is the price.  Anything will sell if it's priced right.  Even a one room shack at the end of an airport runway, beside a 6 lane highway will sell, (especially if the airport is LaGuardia).  However the trick is the find the best price.

If the price is set too low, there is going to be flurry of activity, within a few days there will be an offer at or probably just over the asking price, which will be rapidly accepted.  Then almost inevitably there comes the feeling that it was too easy, and that there was money left on the table, but by then it's usually too late to go back.

Set the price too high and nothing happens.  There may be a couple of early showings and the feedback comes back that the home "shows great", but there are no offers and the activity quickly dies.  After a couple of months the truth sinks in, and the price gets reduced, but by this time the property is "stale" and the eventual selling price is often lower than the optimum.

Now you might think that there will be a big gap between too high and too low, but surprisingly it's likely to be just a few thousand dollars, and if you want to hit that sweet spot you really need the expertise of someone (like me) who's been there before.  

To find out the optimum price to sell YOUR home, click here



Okay so that now we've covered Product and Price we need to deal with promotion.  You may have the nicest home on the block for sale at the best price but if you don't tell anyone about it, nothing is going to happen.

It probably doesn't come of much of a surprise that the vast majority of home sales occur as a result of buyers searching the web for that "ideal home".  Sure a few people still drive the streets looking for sale signs, but the prime purpose (in my mind anyway) of the sign is to help in locating the house for a showing.   I guess a few people still pick up the Real Estate books at the supermarket or even look in the local newspaper, if they can find one, BUT, bottom line is today's buyers are searching with their laptops, Ipads and phones, so that where we need to promote your home.

In order to get your home for sale in front of buyers it MUST be listed on the local Multiple Listing Service by a Realtor.  Yes that it is eventually going to result in you paying commission, but there is overwhelming evidence that you will end up with more money in your pocket than if you try to go FSBO.

Once your home is listed on the MLS 2 things happen.  First the listing is emailed all the buyers who have automated searches set up to advise them of any home that comes on the market that meets their SPECIFICATIONS, one of which will be that ideal price.  That's why we get that immediate flurry of showings, because these are the people who are ready to buy NOW.  

Secondly (if you list with Charlotte County Realty) the listing will be syndicated to over hundreds of general websites, and thousands of individual Realtor sites (like this one) where it can be seen by those buyers still in the early process of searching who are not yet working directly with an agent.

How your property is presented online is critical to attracting motivated buyers.  In particular the quality and quantity of the pictures is vital.  The specifications are what get the properties emailed out, or retrieved in search results.  It's the pictures that convert the views into showings.  It's the showings that convert into sales.


If you are considering selling your home or investment property you owe it to yourself to get a professional evaluation. Click here to make an appointment.